All the secrets of felt cherry: variety selection, planting, care and reproduction features
Felt cherry is traditionally grown as a fruit and ornamental plant in China and in the Russian Far East instead of common cherry that does not take root there. This relatively unpretentious shrub is very beautiful during flowering, and also produces good yields of delicious sweet and sour fruits, very similar to ordinary cherries. In the last century, the massive introduction of felt cherry plantings began in the central regions of the European part of Russia, caused by a number of reasons, including the mass death of old cherry orchards from a dangerous fungal disease - coccomycosis, to which felt cherry turned out to be completely resistant.
Felt cherry - a valuable dining and decorative culture
In the wild, the felt cherry is found in the relatively arid mountainous regions of Central Asia. It was first introduced into culture in Western China several centuries ago, from where it gradually spread to all neighboring regions, including in the gardens of the Russian Far East. In the gardens of the European part of Russia, it began to appear in the first half of the last century as an exotic ornamental and fruit plant.
Sometimes the felt cherry is also called the Chinese cherry or Ando cherry.
Felt cherry on video
Felt cherry is a deciduous shrub about two meters high. It is easily distinguished from other related stone fruit crops by the wide, wrinkled, slightly pubescent leaves, for which it got its name. Sometimes pubescence is noticeable on the fruits of this plant. Felt cherry compares favorably with European cherries (common and steppe) by the complete absence of root growth.
The felted cherry got its name from the felted pubescence of its large, wrinkled leaves.
Felt cherry blooms very early, in Primorye - in the first half of May, in the European part of Russia - about a week earlier than ordinary cherry. Flowering occurs simultaneously with the beginning of leaf blooming. During the flowering period, return frosts are very dangerous, which can completely destroy the future harvest. The flowers are white or pale pink, densely covering the branches. During flowering, the bushes are very beautiful, which is why the felt cherry is often grown as an ornamental plant.
Felt cherry is very beautiful during flowering
Flowers are pollinated by bees, bumblebees and other insects. All existing varieties require cross-pollination, therefore, to obtain a harvest, it is required to plant at least 2-3 plants of different varieties on the site. Felt cherry in natural field conditions is not pollinated by any other types of stone fruit crops (although there are artificially obtained hybrids with sand cherry and some diploid species of plum of the Ussuri-Chinese and Canadian groups).
Self-fertile varieties of felt cherries do not exist!
Felt cherry fruits in Primorye begin to ripen in mid-July, in the European part of Russia - about a week earlier than ordinary cherries. The berries are red, round in shape, on short stalks, with a good harvest, densely sitting on the branches. Ripe fruits in most varieties can persist for a long time on the bushes without crumbling. The difference in ripening time between the earliest and the latest varieties of felt cherries is about a month. Planting varieties of different ripening periods allows you to extend the collection and consumption of fresh berries of this culture.
The harvested fruits are not transportable and do not store for a long time, requiring immediate consumption or processing. The fruits are very tender, juicy, with a pleasant sweet and sour taste, slightly reminiscent of ordinary cherries. They make good canned food, compotes, preserves, juices. They can be canned separately or mixed with other fruits and berries.
Felt cherries are delicious fresh and good for home canning
The usual average yield of young plants is about 2-3 kilograms of fruits from each bush, adult varietal in favorable conditions - up to 10 kilograms from a bush.
Felt cherries are very fast-growing. Even the seedlings obtained by sowing seeds of wild plants bloom and bear fruit already in the third - fourth year, and rooted cuttings of cultivated varieties and grafted plants sometimes even earlier, already in the second year.
Unfortunately, felt cherry bushes do not live long, especially in unusual climatic conditions. Very often, already at the age of eight, large skeletal branches completely dry up in plants, and after a year or two the bushes completely die. Even in the most favorable climates, felt cherry bushes rarely live longer than 15 years.
Timely anti-aging pruning allows you to slightly extend the life of plants, but not for long. Therefore, when growing felt cherries, you should constantly take care of growing new young plants to replace rapidly aging plantings.
Features of growing felt cherries in different regions
In Russian Primorye and in neighboring regions, felt cherry is an important fruit crop, almost completely replacing ordinary cherry there, which does not withstand the harsh conditions of the Far Eastern climate. Almost all existing Russian varieties of felt cherry were created in the Far East, where it has been grown for a long time and in large quantities. And all the information about the record winter hardiness and unpretentiousness of felt cherry refers exclusively to the special specific conditions of the Far Eastern climate with a deep, stable snow cover lying on the already frozen ground, and even frosty winters without thaws.
The most viable and productive felt cherry in the zone of its traditional cultivation - in the Far East
The vaunted frost resistance of felt cherry wood to -40 ° C is manifested only in the Far East, although even there flower buds are damaged already at -30 ..- 35 ° C. In other regions, its frost resistance decreases markedly.
More or less normally felt cherry grows in certain regions of Kazakhstan and southern Siberia, where winter climatic conditions are generally close to those in the Far East (winter without thaws, deep snow over frozen ground).
In most regions of the Urals, felt cherry winters poorly and freezes regularly, and in severe winters it freezes completely, noticeably inferior in frost resistance to steppe cherry more adapted to local conditions.
To the west of the Urals (European part of Russia, Belarus, northern Ukraine), the cultivation of felt cherry is becoming problematic, and its success largely depends on the soil and climatic characteristics of a particular site. In the southern part of this region, unstable winter temperatures, alternating winter thaws and snowless frosts are a big problem. In such conditions, freezing of flower buds and even freezing of whole branches often occurs already at -25 ..- 30 ° C. In more northern regions, winter heating of the bark at the root collar becomes a very serious problem, which occurs either during winter thaws, or when deep snow falls on thawed ground, or when the ground thaws under a thick layer of snow during a warm winter. That is why any attempts to warm felt cherries for the winter in this region lead to the death of plants. Some amateur gardeners in central Russia even specially shovel snow from felt cherry bushes at the beginning of winter to allow the soil to freeze and protect the bushes from damping.
Especially bad conditions for felt cherries are developing in the Leningrad region and adjacent regions of the North-West: there are unstable winters with a constant threat of plant damping, and a damp rainy summer regularly provokes outbreaks of various fungal diseases. In the Moscow region and neighboring regions of central Russia, conditions are already a little better, and for many amateur gardeners, felt cherry grows quite well in areas favorable for it, but is short-lived and requires constant plant renewal.
Varieties and hybrids of felt cherry
Both in the days of the USSR and in modern Russia, serious breeding work with felt cherries was carried out almost exclusively in scientific institutions of the Far Eastern region. All currently zoned varieties have either Far Eastern or Siberian origin. The Michurin experimental varieties that once existed have not survived to this day.
Felt cherries are most often light red in color, while dark-colored varieties are more highly valued by consumers for ordinary cherries. To obtain varieties with a more attractive color of berries, a complex breeding work was carried out to cross the felt cherry with a closely related North American species - the sand cherry, which has very attractive dark-colored fruits. Many of these complex hybrids proved to be very successful, and are cultivated to this day, classified as felt cherry varieties.
Hybrids of felt cherry and sand cherry (table)
Varieties and hybrids of felt cherry (photo gallery)
Other varieties of felt cherries (table)
Felt cherry compatibility with other stone fruit crops
With European types of cherries (ordinary, steppe and sweet cherry), felt cherry has only a purely external resemblance in the form of fruits and their taste. Genetically, they are very far from each other, do not mutually pollinate under any circumstances, and are absolutely incompatible when vaccinated.
The closest relative of the felt cherry is the North American sand cherry (Bessia). They are well grafted onto each other. There are also many hybrid varieties obtained by artificial crossing of these two crops. The so-called cherry plums have also been created - complex hybrids obtained by artificial crossing of felt and sand cherries with Sino-American diploid plum species. They are also compatible when grafted with felt cherries.
The closest relative of the felt cherry is the North American sand cherry (bessya)
Felt cherry is also mutually compatible when grafted with many varieties of plum of the Ussuri-Chinese group and hybrid forms of cherry plum. With European varieties of homemade plum, thorny and thorny, compatibility during grafting is poor, and inter-pollination is, in principle, impossible.
Some hobby gardeners try to use felt cherry seedlings as a non-rooted, low-growing rootstock for apricot and peach. The survival rate of such vaccinations is low, although possible. Much depends on specific varieties and conditions.
Felt cherry grafting
The best rootstocks for varietal felt cherries are young seedlings of felt and sandy cherries. The most convenient for novice gardeners is summer peephole grafting (budding), which is carried out in the second half of summer.
Budding is the most affordable way of grafting felt cherries for beginners
The procedure for vaccination is as follows:
- Choose a healthy, well-rooted seedling growing in a good place - the future stock.
- In the southern part of the crown of a varietal bush (scion), choose a healthy, well-developed young shoot of the current year. Cut it off with a sharp knife and place it in a bucket of water.
- Approach the stock plant with a cut off shoot. Check the sharpness of the tool and the readiness of the strapping (it is convenient to use an elastic insulating tape wound around the plant with the sticky side out).
- From the scion shoot, cut off the flap - the bud with a part of the wood. Cut the leaf from this bud, leaving only the petiole.
- Make a T-shaped incision in the bark on the stem of the stock.
- Tightly insert the scion shield into the bark incision on the rootstock and wrap it tightly with an elastic band, without closing the bud itself.
- It is often recommended to wear a protective plastic bag over the top to reduce evaporation.
- If everything is done correctly, by the end of summer - beginning of autumn, the grafted eye will take root.
- The harness is usually removed the following spring before bud break.
Reproduction of felt cherries
For propagation of felt cherries, seed and vegetative methods are used. Sowing seeds is technically much easier and allows you to get plants more adapted to local conditions. Varietal traits during seed propagation are only partially preserved, therefore, in order to preserve valuable varieties, one has to resort to grafting or cuttings.
Reproduction of felt cherries by green cuttings
Felted cherries take root relatively well with green cuttings in mid-summer.
Green felted cherry cuttings root fairly well
The procedure is as follows:
- Cut the cuttings about 10 centimeters long from well-developed young shoots of the current year.
- Remove the lower leaves from the cuttings.
- Treat the lower part of the cuttings with a rooting stimulator (heteroauxin or something similar) according to the instructions for the preparation.
- Stick the cuttings with the lower part into a previously prepared moist sandy-peat substrate. Can be rooted in pots or in a specially prepared garden bed in partial shade.
- Top with non-woven coverings or upside-down jars to protect from the scorching sun and retain moisture.
- During the entire rooting period, keep the soil in the cuttings constantly moist.
Propagation of felt cherries by seeds
In favorable conditions, felt cherry easily gives abundant self-seeding. Found young plants can be transplanted in the coming spring to a place more suitable for them. It is possible and specially sow seeds from the fruit, it is better to immediately in a permanent place in order to avoid damage to the roots during transplantation and to accelerate fruiting.
Felt cherries are easiest to grow by sowing seeds immediately to a permanent place.
The procedure is as follows:
- Remove seeds from fully ripe good fruits, rinse, allow to dry slightly and store in slightly damp sand until autumn.
- In October, sow seeds immediately to a permanent place to a depth of 3-4 centimeters, 4-5 seeds per nest with sufficient distance between them for subsequent thinning. No need to cover.
- In the spring, shoots will appear, of which in the summer they leave 1 best plant in the nest, the rest are cut at the root.
Felt cherry tolerates transplantation only at a very young age, not older than 3-4 years. It is advisable to transplant in early spring before bud break, digging up plants with as much soil as possible, if possible. Older plants die during transplantation.
Choosing a place and planting felt cherries
Felt cherry is very light-requiring and does not bear fruit when shaded. This culture is drought-resistant, grows well on slopes, on light sandy and sandy loamy soils of a neutral reaction. It absolutely does not tolerate damp lowlands, close groundwater, heavy clay soils and high acidity. If necessary, liming the site is carried out in advance, at least a year before planting the seedlings.
When choosing a place, it should be borne in mind that the felt cherry has a superficial root system, therefore, you cannot dig deep under it and next to it, only superficial loosening to a depth of no more than 10 centimeters is permissible. Felt cherries do not produce root growth that clogs the garden. It should not be planted near other stone fruit crops (cherries, plums) that have common diseases with it.
The best time to plant is early spring, before bud break. In the most extreme case, planting in September is permissible, but such seedlings often die in frosty winters.
When choosing a place, one should take into account that the felt cherry needs cross-pollination, which requires the presence of at least 2-3 different varieties of it nearby. The distance between the bushes when planting is at least 2 meters.
When planting felt cherries, the root collar of the seedling must not be buried.
- Dig a hole about half a meter in diameter and depth.
- Mix the soil from the pit with a bucket of humus, 1 kg of wood ash and 0.5 kg of superphosphate.
- Drive a stake in the center of the pit for a sapling garter.
- Pour an earthen mound at the bottom of the pit.
- With the help of a board laid across the hole, place the seedling in the hole so that its root collar is located exactly at the level of the soil surface. In this position, tie the seedling to the peg.
- Spread out the roots of the seedling and fill the hole with earth, carefully compacting so that there are no voids.
- Pour a bucket of water under the seedling.
- When the water is absorbed, cover the tree trunk circle with sawdust.
Lime, fresh manure and mineral nitrogen fertilizers must not be used when planting!
Felt cherry care
In the spring, overwintered plants are examined and, if necessary, pruned. Only young seedlings of the first year of planting, a bucket of water per plant, need watering once a week, and then only in the absence of rain. In the second half of summer, watering is stopped. The area under the bushes is best kept under sawdust or bark mulch to avoid root damage and inhibit weed growth.
Felt cherry grows successfully and bears fruit only in good sunlight.
Excess fertilizer is harmful to felt cherries. It is enough to feed it once a year, in the spring after flowering. Fertilizer rates per square meter:
- 5–7 kg of decomposed humus or compost;
- 60 g superphosphate;
- 15 g of potassium salt;
- 20 g of nitrogen fertilizer.
Fertilizers are spread evenly over the entire surface of the earth under the crown and slightly embedded in the soil by shallow loosening.
It is categorically impossible to introduce nitrogen in the second half of summer and autumn, this reduces the winter hardiness of plants.
Felt Cherry Pruning
In a young seedling that does not have lateral branches, after planting, the tip is usually slightly shortened to stimulate branching. If there are already a lot of side branches, you do not need to shorten anything so as not to thicken the bush.
In the spring, after awakening the buds, it is necessary to cut out all dried, frozen and obviously diseased branches. Large cuts should be covered with garden pitch. If, after the death of large branches, the bush turned out to be too lopsided, you can give it a more accurate shape for a more even recovery.
Older plants are cut out the oldest and most inconveniently located branches to rejuvenate the bushes.
In old plants, rejuvenating pruning is carried out, cutting out part of the oldest branches, first of all, removing poorly located branches with weak fruiting.
Diseases, pests and other problems
Felt cherries do not always please their owners with yields of delicious berries. This plant has its own specific problems that require a skillful solution.
Felt cherry problems and what to do about it (table)
Diseases and pests of felt cherry (photo gallery)
Reviews of gardeners about felt cherry
Felt cherry grows well and bears fruit, without requiring special care, in the region of its traditional growth and cultivation in the Far East of Russia, successfully replacing ordinary cherries there. This shrub also works well in some regions of Siberia and Kazakhstan with a continental climate without winter thaws. The conditions of the European part of Russia are less favorable for this crop, but in amateur gardening in areas with a favorable microclimate and a suitable type of soil, felt cherry grows well and bears fruit regularly, and regular selection of the best specimens during seed reproduction allows you to get plants more adapted to local conditions.
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Felt cherry: variety of varieties and cultivation features
Felt cherry is a culture appreciated by Russian gardeners from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok. The plant takes root and bears fruit in any climate, except arctic and subarctic. The trees regularly bring a bountiful harvest with a compact size, are not capricious, undemanding to care for, they tolerate severe winters well.
Felt cherry Natalie was created in 1979 by scientists in the Far East. Cherry Leto, pollen of the varieties Danka, Krasnaya Sweet and Ogonyok were used as the parent variety.
The creators of Natalie are considered V.P. Tsarenko and N.A. Tsarenko. Natalie's cherries were bred for 20 years.
Features of the tree
- tall tree, 1.5-2 m in height
- oval crown, medium density
- shoots are thick, even, brown
- leaves are green, oval, slightly wrinkled
- white flowers are located throughout the branch, their diameter is 2.5 cm
- needs pollinators.
During the flowering period, this tree is very similar to an ornamental plant.
Description of fruits
A month and a half after flowering, cherries begin to turn red. Description of fruits:
- weigh 4.5 g
- the skin on the berries is loose, dark red
- small bone
- the flesh is thick, red
- sweet and sour taste
- from one tree can be harvested 8-10 kg of the crop.
Natalie is an early type of felt cherry. The plant begins to bloom from May 20 to May 27. The berries ripen in mid-July. It needs pollinators, which are such fruit trees:
- plum and peach
- apricot and cherry plum
- cherries of other species (will be the best pollinators).
Description of Natalie Felt Cherry
Felt cherry Natalie is the brainchild of the Far Eastern Experimental Station VNIIR. Natalie was born back in 1979, thanks to the work of professional breeders. The work on the creation of a new variety was a crossing of the Leto variety with the pollen of the Krasnaya Sweet, Ogonyok and Damanka varieties. In 1997, this felt variety was included in the State Register of the Russian Federation.
In today's publication, you will find out a detailed description of the variety, see a photo of Natalie's cherry, and also read the reviews of those summer residents who have grown this bush on their site.
Description of the variety
The bush is vigorous, can reach a height of 1.8 meters. Perennial branches are straight, gray in color, with a flaky surface. Annual shoots are brown, have pubescence on the surface.
Kidneys are small, with sharp ends, "gather" 3 together. Like annual branches, they have pubescence.
Leaves are oblong-oval, green. On the upper side, the leaf is pubescent tomentose, on the lower side, with small hairs.
Natalie's flower is saucer-shaped, medium-sized, up to 2.5 cm in diameter. The flower is white, the number of petals is 5.
The approximate flowering time is May 10-18. Fruits ripen closer to July 13-18. The berries ripen at the same time, which makes it possible to harvest the entire crop almost in one day.
Saplings grafted onto the bush begin to yield crops as early as the 2nd year of their life, and their own ones bear fruit 4 years after emergence. The bush has a life span of 18 years. Cherry Natalie is self-fertile.
Natalie is a fairly high-yielding variety. About 9 kg are harvested from 1 bush.
The variety is drought tolerant. He loves water, but does not like waterlogging.
With regard to immunity, the variety is resistant to coccomycosis and relatively protected from clasterosporia. Not protected against moniliosis, in case of high humidity conditions.
The fruits of the Natalie Felt cherry are large, the average weight of a ripe berry reaches 4 grams. The shape of the fruit is oval with a slightly "cut" top. The color of the berry is dark red, there is a slight pubescence on the shell.
The pulp is red, there are cartilages. The fruit itself is very juicy, dense in structure. The color of the juice is red. There is a small bone inside the fetus. It accounts for about 5% of the total mass of the fetus.
Fresh berries contain (per 100 g):
- Dry matter - 11.6 g.
- Sugar substances - 8.2 g.
- Acids - 0.71 g.
- Ascorbic acid - 30.4 mg.
The fruits have an attractive, marketable appearance. The taste is sweet and sour, without a pronounced dominance in any direction. Taste score 4 points out of 5. The fruit separates from the stalk very well.
Poor transportability. Also, berries of this variety are not suitable for picking mechanically.
Positive and negative qualities
Natalie takes one of the leading positions from the list of felt cherries. This is due to a number of advantages that the variety offers to its owners. In particular, the main advantages of felt Natalie include:
- Early ripening of berries.
- High yield rates.
- High quality berries. Natalie's fruits are large, very tasty.
- High rates of frost and drought resistance.
- Good immunity, which protects the plant from such a common disease as coccomycosis.
At the same time, Natalie is not devoid of shortcomings. First of all, it is worth noting:
- Self-infertility. To get a good harvest, it is imperative to plant a pollinator near Natalie.
- The bush does not tolerate waterlogging. Waterlogging increases the risk of moniliosis.
- With excess harvest, the size of the berries becomes smaller.
- The berries are not suitable for mechanical transportation and collection, which makes Natalie unattractive in commercial circles.
One of the main disadvantages of this variety is self-fertility. For a plant to produce a bucket of harvest, pollinators are needed. Otherwise, there are only enough berries to feed the birds.
Trees with the same flowering period act as pollinators. It can be plums, peaches, apricots, and cherry plums. Also, you can pay attention to other felt cherries, such as:
Planting this cherry is no different from planting other bushes or fruit trees.
- The pit should be spacious enough. The optimal width of the pit is about 60 cm, and the optimal height is from 50 to 80 cm (depending on the fertility of the soil).
- Fertilizer is placed at the bottom of the hole (a mixture of humus and fertile soil).
- The seedling is immersed in the ground so that its root collar is not too deep. After that, the seedling is sprinkled with earth and carefully compacted.
- After the seedling is planted, it is watered abundantly with water. 1 bush takes about 2 buckets of water.
As is the case with any crop, Natalie's felt cherry needs to be looked after so that it pleases with a good harvest and does not suffer from various diseases.
At first glance, caring for cherries seems difficult, but in reality it is not. In order for the cherry to please with the harvest, you only need:
- Ration the bush from time to time.
- Fertilize it periodically.
- Protect from parasites and diseases.
Let's take a closer look at each of these points.
For the bush to grow well and bear fruit, it needs to be rationed every year. In the spring, even before the onset of sap flow and swelling of the buds, sanitary and formative pruning is carried out. That is, in the second year after planting the seedling in the ground, its branches are shortened to 40 cm in length.
After another year, all side branches are shortened by a third.
After the first fruiting, the side branches are removed, leaving only 7-10 main, most developed branches (central).
Subsequent pruning is performed for sanitary purposes. Remove dry, damaged or infected branches.
In the first year after planting a seedling in the exhaust gas, it is not necessary to feed it. He should have enough of those fertilizers that were added to the hole in the process of planting.
The next year, the first feeding is carried out immediately after flowering. For this, a mixture is prepared from:
- Quail manure (chicken) - half a bucket.
- Urea - 30 g.
- Superphosphate - 50 g.
- Potassium nitrate - 20 g.
After the bush is fertilized with this mixture, it must be watered abundantly.
As an additional top dressing, you can make a layer of mulch from vegetable peels, peat or compost in the fall.
As noted earlier, Natalie's felted cherry doesn't like moisture much. Nevertheless, she still needs water. Water the bush during periods of drought with warm water (temperature not lower than 18 degrees Celsius). A bucket of water is consumed per plant.
Diseases and pests
Natalie herself has a strong innate immunity. It is resistant to diseases such as coccomycosis and clotterosporia, however, if the bush is not taken care of, it can face pocket disease and monoliosis.
In order to protect the bush from possible diseases, the following preventive work can be carried out:
- In the spring, before the buds bloom, treat the tree with a solution of copper sulfate (100 g of copper kuropos must be diluted in a bucket of water).
- Periodically carry out sanitary pruning of bushes.
- Remove fallen leaves in autumn.
As for parasites, the most common pests of this felt variety are:
For the prevention and control of these parasites, special pesticides or folk remedies are used, such as a soap / garlic solution or an infusion of wormwood.
Valentina Igorevna, Kharkov, 42 years old.
At one time she grew several felt cherries, they are also called Chinese. Among them was Natalie. What can I say, it did not take root with us. No, not in terms of the fact that it grew poorly or could not stand the cold, but in the sense that the taste was not very pleasant. We have a small garden, we always wanted to plant cherries on it. Friends advised planting felt, they say, and fruitful, and easier to care for than ordinary cherries. We tried their cherries, they seemed to be normal, but here they grew sour for some reason. We uprooted 5 felt bushes and planted ordinary cherries and sweet cherries.
Dmitry Ivanovich, Moscow, 51 years old.
The cherry is great. The yield is high, cherries are small and sour, but we grow them purely for making jam. I was personally convinced that felt cherry is an excellent cherry for jam.